Industry Voice

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 18, 2014 13 comments
AURALiC caused quite a splash with their Vega DAC which I reviewed very favorably (see review) as did John Atkinson in Stereophile (see review). I continue to use the Vega as my reference. AURALiC introduced a new product, the ARIES, at CES 2014 and it again had the crowds buzzing mainly with its ability to stream DSD over wi-fi. I received a review unit about a month ago and have been working through iterations of the Lightning DS app which controls the ARIES as well as a few firmware upgrades.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 11, 2014 3 comments
Michal at Mytek R&D Studio in Brooklyn, testing the new DSD ADC prototype circuit (June 2014)

I first met Mytek's Michal Jurewicz at RMAF 2011. This event marked the official launch of AudioStream as well as the debut of Mytek's first consumer DAC. At that time, the Mytek Stereo192-DSD DAC at $1695 represented the least expensive DSD-capable DAC by a good margin and remains, imo, very competitive in terms of its price and performance. Michal was kind enough to participate in this Q&A where we focus on DSD, misconceptions, and Mytek's place in the world of hi-fi.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 13, 2014 26 comments
Qobuz Co-Founders Yves Reisel (left) and Alexandre Leforestier

France-based Qobuz (pronounced cow-buzz and named after a traditional two-stringed instrument of Central Asia) is one of the premier online music retailers of CD-quality and high resolutions downloads. Qobuz is also one of the first sites to offer a CD-quality streaming service, if not the first, and in my opinion it is also the most advanced website for music download sales and streaming services around. One peak at their home page on any given day will tell a lot of what you need to know—podcasts, blogs, hi-fi, editorials, and more, Qobuz embodies many of the best qualities of online sales combined with a healthy human touch. Yves Riesel, Qobuz's Co-founder and CEO, was kind enough to agree to this Q&A and I'd like to thank him for his time and answers.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 01, 2014 15 comments

I just came across this short, 2-minute+ video sponsored by the Audio Engineering Society (AES) from 2000 and found it very interesting and relevant, especially in view of all the anti-Pono talk of late. Watch the video and see if you agree.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: May 01, 2014 4 comments
I recently completed my reviews of the full suite of Bluesound products including the Vault (see review), the Powernode/Duo (see review), Node (see review), and Pulse (see review). I was impressed with the lot, finding the Bluesound products mature beyond their years in terms of both the user friendly interface and overall sound quality. I had an opportunity to ask Bluesound's Chief Brand Officer, John Banks, some questions about Bluesound to hopefully get a better picture of this new company.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 30, 2014 21 comments
AudioQuest shared their White Paper, "Evaluation of Digital Devices and Proper Warm-Up for Ideal Listening and Measurements" and I thought it well worth sharing with AudioStream readers. While you can pretty much surmise the gist of the white paper from its title, you may be surprised at the conclusions drawn from measured results. Enjoy.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 07, 2014 9 comments
Thorsten Loesch

Most readers are familiar with iFi Audio whose affordable products include DACs, portable headphone amps, a USB power supply, Tube Buffer/Pre-Amplifier, and more. We've reviewed a number of their products including the iFi iDAC (see review), the iUSBPower (see review), and the iTube Active Tube Buffer/Preamp (see review). Abbington Music Research (AMR) also produces a full line of "Reference Class" products including amplifiers, preamplifiers, loudspeakers, disc players, DACs, and more. The Chief Designer behind both product lines, Thorsten Loesch, was kind enough to participate in this Q&A with AudioStream where we dig into some of the nitty gritty behind PCM versus DSD, human hearing, the joy of vacuum tubes, and more. I'd like to thank Thorsten for the time and effort he put into his response and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 13, 2014 15 comments
Photo Credit: Danny Clinch

It should come as no surprise at this point that Neil Young was at SXSW to talk about Pono. I had the opportunity to spend some time talking to Neil Young about his new venture.

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jan 29, 2014 1 comments

Jitter. Its a controversial subject among audiophiles (what isn't?). PS Audio has posted Part 2 of their Jitter video series with "consulting digital expert" Ted Smith, "Audible Effects of Jitter", but I've included Part 1 here which is titled "Why Jitter Matters" just in case you missed it. Part 2 will start directly after (duck and cover!).

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 30, 2013 33 comments
In this third installment I will cover possible methods by which bit perfect software can affect sound quality in a DAC.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 17, 2013 47 comments
I think its fair to say that Charlie Hansen, Ayre's Founder and Designer, is not exactly a fan of DSD. Thankfully, that didn't stop him from offering DSD-capable versions of Ayre's QB-9, DX-5-DSD, and now the QA-9 thanks to AlpineSoft's VinylStudio DoP vinyl ripping software. What the guys at Ayre have gone and done is ripped parts of three tracks to single-rate DSD and 24/192 using the QA-9 so we can compare DSD to PCM. But there's more...
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 21, 2013 5 comments
(left to right) Steve Silberman, Gordon Rankin, Charles Hansen. photo credit: Steve S. and Stereophile

During our first conversation with AudioQuest's Steve Silberman, Charlie Hansen of Ayre Acoustics and Gordon Rankin of Wavelength Audio we talked about the notion that "There's no such thing as digital" (see Part 1). In Part 2 we move on to ask, what can be done to address the problems of high-speed analog signals in a modern audio system?

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 06, 2013 12 comments
With all of the attention DSD has garnered of late, it seemed like a good time to go to one of SACD's creators for answers to some common questions. Andreas Koch was involved in developing the standards and equipment for SACD production, recording, and playback, his company Playback Designs was one of the first to offer DSD capability in a consumer product, and he was also an integral player in the development of the DSD over PCM (DoP) specification. Andreas was kind enough to answer some questions concerning DSD which will hopefully clarify some aspects of how DSD actually works.
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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 28, 2013 10 comments
In Part 1 of our Q&A, John Swenson covered "What is Digital?". You should consider that required reading for Part 2 since he builds on that foundation here. Part 1 also includes John's bio if you'd like to know more about him. Now let's get on with Part 2:

Can you explain how things other than "the bits" could have an effect on the analog output of a DAC?

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 20, 2013 9 comments
Over on Audio Asylum, our own Steve Plaskin (Mercman on AA) posted some comments on Music Software. In the responses, John Swenson offered up some answers to some questions we've been dealing with here on AudioStream most notably in our conversation with Charles Hanson, Gordon Rankin, and Steve Silberman (see article). So I contacted John and asked him if he'd like to expand on those thoughts here on AudioStream and he kindly agreed. John also provided a bio which is included at the end of this piece to give you some background on his background.

Here's Part 1 starting at the beginning...

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